What's on this graph
This graph includes the daily maximum temperature in Albany as measured by the National Weather Service from the beginning of 2013 through July 18 -- those are the blue columns.
The black line is the statewide daily maximum hourly load as reported by NYISO. It represents the peak electricity usage for each day in the state.
So, yep, there are some grains of salt, because we're comparing temps from one place in the state against energy use in the entire state. (Long story short, we did this because it was easier to pull the data together that way.) A better way to do this would involve a measure of temperature for the whole state, or looking at the relationship between power usage and temp in one region.
A few thoughts
+ There's a pretty clear trend in the relationship between outside temps and power usage -- at least, as graphed here.
+ It's especially clear in the warmer months -- when the temperature swings up, so does the power usage. (Those air conditioners aren't powered by hamster wheels.)
+ But also look at the first few months of the year. Though it's not as pronounced as the summer months, there appears to be relationship relatively low temperatures and electricity usage. This is probably because some people use electricity for at least some types of heating, and even a gas furnace uses electricity (for the blower, for example).
There's been a lot of talk this week about how the heat wave is putting a strain on the state's power grid. The org that oversees the state's grid predicted that cranking up all those air conditioners would push the state's electricity usage up to or beyond the all-time record. And on Thursday Andrew Cuomo was urging New Yorkers to conserve energy so as to lessen the chances of power outages.
Update: The state's electricity demand broke the record Friday, NYISO reported late that afternoon.
All that talk got us curious about the relationship between temperatures outside and power usage. So we pulled the data for both daily max temps and max "load" on the state's power grid. There's a graph above -- but don't squint, there's a large format version after the jump (along with some notes).
The graph and notes are above -- scroll all the way up.
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